24 February 2012

Mix and match

West Side Story by Městské divadlo Brno (Czech Republic) / Jef Kratochvil, from Wikicommons

Cognac Lounge had a great little gig the other day at Adore Tea, but it was a different band this time. Singer Monica was taken ill and she was replaced at short notice by Gossipist Richard on Sax. I didn’t think to report this - aftehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifr all, it’s just a standard jazz remix – until I read an article in recent days that discusses matters of creativity in the workplace. The article was arguing that brainstorming doesn’t work but also looked at processes that did work. Amongst these, was research into success of Broadway productions by Brian Uzzi. He found that relationships amongst collaborators were relevant to success and that there was an optimal balance of new and existing relationships in a successful production. “The best Broadway teams, by far, were those with a mix of relationships … These teams had some old friends, but they also had newbies. This mixture meant that the artists could interact efficiently—they had a familiar structure to fall back on—but they also managed to incorporate some new ideas. They were comfortable with each other, but they weren’t too comfortable.” Uzzi’s favorite example is West Side Story which was created by colleagues Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents with Broadway-virgin lyricist Stephen Sondheim. All pretty obvious, really, and something that’s common experience in jazz, but nice to see it confirmed. For our gig, there was considerable continuity but also some edgy discontinuity and unexpectedness. So we just had to improvise, but that’s jazz. CL-i (Cognac Lounge - instrumental) was Peter Kirkup (piano), Richard Manderson (saxes), Eric Pozza (bass) and Brenton Holmes (drums). Groupthink : The brainstorming myth, by Jonah Lehrer / New Yorker, 30 Jan 2012 (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lehrer, viewed 21 Feb 2012)

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